The Self-Awareness Guy

Leadership and Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness in Leadership Development

Self-Awareness in Leadership Development

I've worked with a wide range of leaders in variety of public and private companies and organizations and I frequently get questions about the role of self-awareness in leadership development. I usually answer by saying that there is no such thing as effective leadership without self-awareness. Let's look at some differences between a leader with self-awareness and one who doesn't possess it:

Leader without Self Awareness

Reacts to everything, gets scared often, behaves in a domineering way, corrects employee behavior through punishment, rules through fear, creates chaos in the workplace, promotes high turnover, not emotionally intelligent.

Leader with Self-Awareness

Thinks and behaves proactively, shifts fear into courage, motivates people from within, praises positive behaviors, rules through trust and collaboration, creates a calm work environment, builds a workplace people want to stay at, is highly emotionally intelligent.

The strange thing I've noticed is that virtually every single workplace is like the first example rather than the second because we've become accustomed to leadership without self-awareness. It doesn't have to be that way. When I work with leaders, we look at ways to develop their self-awareness skills, things like:

  • Understanding how their emotions, behaviors, and actions affect them, others, and the workplace.
  • Recognizing their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Being able to ask for help.
  • Being comfortable with employees' emotions.
  • Building teams and promoting collaboration.
  • Communicating effectively, listening actively.
  • Helping people motivate themselves instead of having orders shouted at them.
  • Behaving calmly instead of in constant emergency mode.
  • Behaving with kindness and empathy.
  • Building a highly productive workplace based on trust rather than fear.
  • Avoiding micromanaging.
  • Healing their own inner hurts instead of getting their stuff on employees.

The key to extraordinary leadership development is to build leaders who are self-aware and do things differently than how most of our workplaces have done them since the beginning of the industrial revolution. We now have the knowledge to create healthy, collaborative workplaces where people get a lot done and do it with a sense of fulfillment and joy instead of coercion and fear. All it takes is deciding to educate your leaders in how to be self-aware, everything else flows from that initial enlightenment.

Cheers,

Guy

10 Easy Ways to Ensure Your Employees Hate You

10 Easy Ways to Ensure Your Employees Hate You

I've worked with a lot of different leaders both as a trainer and consultant and I've noticed that many of them consistently do things to make their employees unhappy.  None of these people are uncaring, unprofessional or evil in any way, they just don't know what else to do.  It's as if they let things get out of hand one little step at a time until, one day, the car is driving off the cliff.

Very few leaders go to work with the intention of damaging their employees but there are an alarming number of workplaces where, if you asked employees, the boss would be less popular than a toothache.  Here are ten things I've noticed leaders do that increase the chances their employees will hate them.

1.  Never ask for feedback.
2.  Never listen, just talk at people.
3.  Tell people you're treating them poorly for their own good.
4.  Don't allow people to complain or dissent in any way.
5.  Make the workplace hyper-competitive instead of collaborative.
6.  Hang out with pet employees and show favoritism.
7.  Don't be consistent in your decision making.
8.  Run around like everything is an emergency.
9.  Micromanage a lot and give a lot of unsolicited advice.
10.  Treat people like they don't know anything and you don't trust them.

Have you ever worked with someone like this?  Think of what kind of workplace it created.  A large percentage of workplaces actually run like this even if they have a veneer of civility.  This is usually because we've let our organizations run out of control one small step at a time by forgetting that employees are really valuable and important.  Try doing the opposite of these things and you'll find your employees will like you a lot more.  You don't have to be perfect, just start changing the direction of your leadership one small step at time.

Have you ever hated a boss?  Share your story.

Cheers,

Guy

Improve Your Leadership Skills by Focusing on the Present

Improve Your Leadership Skills by Focusing on the Present

Leaders sometimes spend so much time thinking about the things they could have done that they forget the power they have to change things in the present.  It's easy to get stuck in a mode where you replay past events or make up future possibilities but that never affects your present results.

Spending more time consciously working on the present is an effective way to improve your leadership skills.  If you start today by telling yourself that you will work on something that actually exists right now in the present you will suddenly have greater command of your destiny and the ability to change whatever is happening.

Try taking action today; find something in the past or future that you wish would change and re-focus it in the present.  Ask yourself what you can do right now to affect something in your workplace right now.  Taking action in the present helps you take your mind off all the things you can't control and focuses your energy on the things you can change.

Cheers,

Guy

Leaders Take Action

Leaders Take Action

Many leaders make things happen by taking action.  When you purposefully decide to move in a certain direction you begin a journey that will take you in directions you may not even have imagined. Here’s what some wise people have to say about the subject.

Anais Nin:

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.

Anatole France:

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

Alfred North Whitehead:

We cannot think first and act afterward. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action, and can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.

What will you take action on today?

Cheers,
Guy

Creativity and Leadership

Creativity and Leadership

Creativity is one of the most effective ways for leaders to overcome challenges at work.  Moving in a different direction is often a matter of thinking creatively and doing something differently.  Here’s what some smart people say about creativity:

Barthold Georg Niebuhr:

It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.

Arthur Koestler:

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

George Prince:

Another word for creativity is courage.

Beatrix Potter:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.

Albert Einstein:

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Charles Mingus:

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

The next time you have some workplace problem try using your creativity to come up with new and innovative ways to deal with it.  Make sure you try to do things differently from how you’ve always done them and have a good time trying new things.

Cheers,
Guy